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Designing invitations

21 May

I have written before about how difficult I found it to design our invitations. I’m not a graphic designer and know next to nothing about fonts, but I really wanted to make these myself and I’m so glad I did!

For the front of the invitation, I kept it pretty simple and similar to the Save the Date cards we sent out last year. I had to change the font from the Save the Date because numbers didn’t read out that well, but I think the replacement worked out fairly well. I’m still not that happy with the scripty font but at there are only so many times you can look at the calligraphy section of dafont without your eyes crossing (or maybe that’s just me).

After looking at LOADS of invitations on Pinterest and changing my mind every week or so about what I wanted to do, I ended up focusing in on the two venues, which are both beautiful buildings.

I looked up some nice pictures of the venues on the Internet and then sketched them roughly and painted them in. I wanted them to look colourful and friendly, which I hope is how they came out.

I don’t have a scanner, so I just took really close up photographs of the buildings on our camera and manipulated them using GIMP (free photo editing software).

I had to swap them around on the invitation as I accidentally drew them in the wrong order, but it meant that they had a natural place to overlap – the trees!

We also created a similar, but slightly different invitation for the evening guests, using just the blue building.

The invites have (almost) all gone out now (there are a few that we haven’t yet posted for one reason or another) and the RSVPs have started coming in. Hurrah! There are still months to go until the wedding, but it is starting to feel very real now!

What do you think? Do you have a favourite calligraphy font? Please give me your recommendations! Have you designed your own invite? I would love to see your photographs…


Bank holiday crafts

5 May

If you are looking for a few ideas for the bank holiday, why not try making one of these projects?

Upcycle a plain bottle or vase with a photo transfer (via Babble)

Create a cake (or donut!) stand using old records – I love this idea! Via Bubby and Bean.

Experiment with Papier Mache! I haven’t done this since I was a kid, but My Little Fabric has a very grown up project on their site…

Create a really cool looking heart shopping bag (via hrrrthrr) OR…

A cool look ombred heart bag! Via Four Flights of Fancy.

Are you making anything this weekend? Send us your photos or links in the comments!

IKEA hack: bottom up blinds

12 Apr

The windows in the front room of our flat are huge. They let in loads of light and were one of the biggest selling points about the flat when we bought it. BUT there are two problems with having such big windows. 1) The room is south facing, meaning that when the sun is out it looks glorious but the heat soon becomes unbearable – like living in a giant greenhouse. 2) We live on the first floor and without blinds, everyone from the street can see straight in to the room.

The other problem is that only one window currently opens, and that opens from the top down, meaning that having curtains or regular blinds would prevent us from being able to open the window. We needed a solution that would allow us to open the window, let light in, protect us from heat and stop people from being able to look in at us from the street.

Our first solution was this:

Effective, but not particularly attractive, I think you'll agree!

I have to admit, I had no part in the clever solution we now have in place. P can take 100% credit for the idea and execution. When I say ‘we’, I really mean ‘he’. But I was there watching and drinking my cup of tea, so that counts, right?

First of all,we secured large picture D rings to the top corner of each window. Then, we screwed in bronze cleats (think a very small version of the thing you use to secure a boat to a jetty using ropes) to either side of each window, approximately in the middle vertically. These two together were the basis for the pulley system we created.

P securing the cleats

We bought some cheap, very simple blinds from Ikea for £45 and spent another £3.50 on some basic, quite hideous, curtain rods.

We cut the rods so that they were the length of the blind, completely covered by the fabric. Then we created small holes just underneath the rod on each side of the blind. A piece of 3.5m long nylon cord was fed through the hole and secured with a tight knot.

Next, the cord was strung up through the picture rings and pulled down to the cleats. We can now pull the nylon cord to raise the blind, or give it slack to lower it. When it reaches the height we want to set it at, the cord gets wound around the cleat to secure it in place. The length of the blind can then be adjusted at the bottom, by rolling it up or down, making sure that the window is covered no matter what height you set it at.

Hoorah! Adjustable blinds mean people on the street can't peep into our windows anymore!

In total, we probably spent just under £80 on the blinds, curtain rods, cord and fixings. Once the materials were bought this project took about two hours from start to finish. Considering that the quote we had had for bottom up blinds was almost £600 for these three windows, I would call that a massive win.

Book review: Design*Sponge at Home

15 Mar

I don’t think I have ever put as many bookmarks into a book as I have with this one. Design*Sponge at Home is from the incredibly talented Grace Bonney, who runs the Design*Sponge website. It’s a great site, full of peeks into people’s homes, step by step DIY tutorials, food and more.  The book is really fantastic. I first read it and marked it up around a month ago, and now, flipping through it I feel inspired all over again!  Some of my favourite pages and ideas below.

I love this apartment – such a lovely combination of vintage pieces – I love the metal wire chair with pink seat and the mirror next to the bed.

How great is the fabric on the right hand side? I would love to have that in my home, maybe as a throw on the sofa or as a rug.

Again, this is such a great home – the leafy curtains, yellow sofas, and gorgeous rug are all just perfect. I wish Anthropologie UK sold the rug here but unfortunately it looks as though it hasn’t make it to the UK yet…

A really simple, but really beautiful, DIY project – using bleach to create gorgeous tea towels (plus this would work on other fabrics too if you wanted to create your own pattern for a skirt or dress, for example).

I had been looking for a salvages chair to do something similar with my never-ending suitcase project but it was not to be. BUT I have found another solution so one day I promise I will actually finish the thing and blog about it…

Look at these amazing before and after projects! I used to have a desk like that!

Again, some amazing DIY projects – the suitcase is obviously dear to my heart, but the IKEA hack is amazing – those dressers are so cheap – who knew you could make one look so good?

To be honest, I wanted to take a photograph of every page in the book and post it up but that would have been very time consuming and pretty illegal. If you are looking for a book to inspire your home design and a few crafty DIY ideas, it is definitely worth a read.

Buy Design*Sponge at Home from Amazon.

Decorating With Your Own Art

5 Mar

I rent my flat and so have little control over the decor. However I have tried to make it as personal as I can by using my own soft furnishings and furniture etc.

In a previous flat I was allowed to paint my room and chose a strong pink for two of the walls. When I moved I had a little paint left over so I made this painting from a canvas that had been thrown out on the street. I mixed some of it with a bit of white acrylic. It’s loosely my version of a Rothko and was very easy to do with a 1 1/2″ DIY paintbrush.

With my pink curtains, a throw on the bed and other details here and there to pick out the colour I think the painting really brings the room together and makes it feel my own.

If you’re looking for a canvas, which can be expensive, another place I picked up a couple was in the sale at a big DIY store. The paintings on them weren’t to my taste so I painted over them with white emulsion and started again. Of course if you’re handy with a saw, hammer and nails you can buy some 2 x 1″ wood and a piece of calico fabric and make your own frame, stretching the calico over the frame and securing on the underside with a staple gun.

Quick tip: hanging multiple items on a wall

24 Feb

For an easy way to arrange artwork on a wall, simply lay the bits out on a bit of newspaper, and arrange them how you want them to appear on the wall. Then, put dots where the nails need to go to hang the artwork that way.

Tape the newspaper to the wall, and hammer or drill away!


Mexican tin hearts bought from the wonderful Milagros on Columbia Road.

Ideas for craft projects

21 Feb

A few ideas I have spotted recently…

I love this vintage suitcase stand on Shabby, Chic and Charming. I have been really struggling to get hold of the legs I want for the suitcase project I still haven’t finished (as soon as I get the legs I’ll be done, so hopefully I will post it soon!). This is a neat alternative – using a luggage stand to put the suitcase on. The only problem is that I think it might be too high for what I want it for, but if I don’t find legs in the next week, I will definitely be giving this a go!

Another great idea for old luggage – turn it into a charging station! Seen on Design*Sponge.

I love this simple but beautiful leather case for the Kindle Fire. Seen on Momtastic.

Transform a board game into a jewellery box! Via ReadyMade

What have you been making lately?

Getting organised: Quick wins in the kitchen

20 Feb

Over the weekend I began to tackle my project to get our flat organised. Thankfully P is very handy with a drill – each of the three things we did took under 10 minutes to do and has already started to make our tiny kitchen feel calmer and more easy to use.

Our main problem in the kitchen is storage – we have none of it! Our one drawer was overwhelmed with things and the tiny cutlery organiser that we had just wasn’t cutting it. All the knives being all over the place was actually starting to feel a bit dangerous and things like the herb chopper were taking up way too much space.

Quick win? A bigger organiser. We took anything that can be hung up out of the drawer (see then next win to see where they went) and arranged everything that was left behind into a new divider.

Easy peasy!

The next project to tackle was the number of pot lids we have. Where do you store your pot lids? We had been storing them with the pots, but it felt like every time I picked up a pot, all the lids would crash down. It was driving me pretty nuts.

Quick win? Installing a rack above the hob to store the lids on. Plus we have some hooks we can use to hang bits and bobs that we want to keep near the stove.

Our final project was to make a piece of furniture a bit more functional. We bought a great kitchen trolley from IKEA not so long ago, which is brilliant. Our kitchen is really very small, so this gives us another work surface and somewhere to store big items.  But it doesn’t have any drawers, so our issue of storage for things like serving spoons, tongs, sieves, etc, didn’t really get resolved when we bought it.

Quick win? Installing another rack – this time with loads of hooks on it.

In total we spent around £30 on two racks and the cutlery divider.  It didn’t cost too much and although all three of these things are small projects, they have already made the kitchen feel hugely more organised and made me feel more relaxed! I know where everything is, things no longer fall over when I try to get pans out, and it looks nicer as well.

Now if only I can find solutions for our tupperware, none of which seems to stack properly or nest within other pieces. Any ideas?

Five minute project: tile coasters

15 Feb

My family have had these tiles for a LONG time. We bought them when we lived in Mexico and since then they have graced various pieces of furniture – they formed a table top originally, then were carefully removed and used on top of a bar, and now my parents have used them as part of a bathroom backsplash. They are great and I wanted to do something with the ones they no longer needed.

As I now have some real wood side tables, the first thing that came to mind was that I should make them into some coasters! I ordered some felt from Amazon, which arrived a day after ordering it.

All I then needed to do was cut it to size and stick it to the back using some strong glue.

Project done!

It took five minutes, they look great, will protect the tables from scratches and ring marks, and I actually only needed one piece of the felt (would anyone like some? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll drop you an e-mail and post it to you for free).

Upcycling inspiration

6 Feb

I am currently working on a little bit of an upcycling project, taking a wooden suitcase I bought back in August in Newcastle and turning it into a coffee table. It’s proving a little trickier than expected, which I will tell you all about when I finally finish doing the work (working on the house seems to take precedence at the minute), but I thought I would share some of my inspiration as there are so many great examples of re-purposing furniture out there at the minute.

I have a couple of these library card holders, which I currently use for holding my spices, but this is a great alternative for them. Via Style by Emily Henderson

And here’s another great use of an old drawer cabinet being used as a coffee table. Those little legs make it just the right height. Via Richmond Thrifter.

Repurpose an old dresser by painting it and adding some hooks and a paper towel holder. Via Small Place Style.

This suitcase storage solution on Etsy is a great idea and so different!

It could even be as simple as putting a crate on its side and using it as a storage solution / coffee table – what a great idea! Via Pinterest.

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